LINZ was no more important a center at that time than it is now, but it offered the young organist the benefits of a music- loving town. There was a fairly orchestra and a theater which presented operatic performances. An opera house in a town the size of Linz may seem quite exceptional. In America only a few of the larger cities enjoy a permanent opera season; others have to be content with a few performances by touring companies. In central Europe there is scarcely a town of a hundred thousand inhabitants which does not have a ten months' opera season.
Bruckner frequently attended concerts in Linz but he avoided the theater, which religious zealots had depicted to him as "the devil's breeding place."* In his new place of residence, he won friends and patrons, the most outstanding among them being Bishop Rudigier, who evidently recognized Bruckner's value to his diocese. Rudolf Weinwurm, who in 1858 became director of music at the University of Vienna and also conductor of the academic glee club, could be called one of Bruckner's most intimate friends. There are many letters addressed to him in the collection of Bruckner's correspondence. The letters are very interesting because they show an innocence and a naïveté which one never finds in the correspondence of Wagner or Liszt. Even the self- contained Brahms revealed more of the inner life of an artist in his letters than did Bruckner.
Goellerich claims** it was Bruckner's mastery as an improviser at the organ which astounded everyone, but he was not a very good sight reader. Whether this remark refers to the period in Linz alone or to a longer time is unimportant, but it is one of the most striking facts in the life of this thirty-____________________